The Beach was first settled in 1793 by the Ashbridge family. A small farming community was formed, and the land continued to be farmed until the late 1800s, when the land was subdivided, with much of the property set aside for use as parks and other public land.
Out of this division of property grew the regions of Woodbine, Kew Gardens, Scarborough, Balmy Beach and Victoria Park, which became popular with cottagers and beach-lovers alike. Later divisions of these regions allowed for year-round residential development--what was once a summer playground became permanent homes for many lucky residents.
The Beach continues to be one of Toronto's most popular neighbourhoods. The Beach offers residents and visitors alike picturesque surroundings, just a stone's throw from main thoroughfares into the downtown core.
Some of the reasons we love living in the Beaches.
Lake Ontario, a boardwalk, beautiful beaches!
Just imagine walking out your door and being only minutes away from one of Toronto's landmarks: the boardwalk. Stroll along the boardwalk to visit one of three beaches in the area--have a picnic, play in the water, or simply take in the scenery. Or, take your bike or rollerblades and hop on the Martin Goodman Trail, easily accessible from the boardwalk. Beaches in this area of some of the cleanest in Ontario, with Woodbine, Kew, and Balmy Beach holding Blue Flag Beaches status - the internationally recognized standard of excellence awarded to over 3200 beaches in thirty-seven countries.
Parks and Recreation
For the nature lover, look no further than Glen Stewart, which features a nature trail and ravine, ideal for traipsing through with the kids, or just on your own with a camera. Ashbridges Bay Park provides the ideal location for picnics or windsurfing, and people-watching. Woodbine Park is the site for events and festivals year-round. Kew Gardens, with its bandstand, tennis courts, playground and wading pool provides opportunity for those looking for more than just relaxing.
Queen Street East offers an eclectic mix of boutiques, high-end housewares and furniture, gift shops, galleries, and necessary amenities such as green grocers, healthfood shops and hardware stores. You'd be hard-pressed not to find what you're looking for, whether it's art or an avocado, but if needed, Kingston Road, just a short walk or quick ride on the 64 Main Bus away, provides another source for great shopping,, albeit on a smaller scale.
The Beach offers activities to suit just about any level of athlete, whether casual or competitive. Solo athletes can take advantage of the Martin Goodman Trail for running or cycling, but what to do if you're looking for something else? Other sports available for Beach denizens include, Tennis, Rowing, Sailing, Lacrosse, and of course, Beach Volleyball.
The Beach is host to many annual holiday-basedevents, including Christmas Tree and Menorah lighting festivals, Arts and Crafts shows and tours, and parades. Perhaps its best-known event is the Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival, featuring 50 live bands, multiple venues, a street fair, and thousands of visitors!
The Beach offers many culinary options, from casual cafes to more upscale dining environs. Visit our Beaches Restaurant Guide for a directory of eateries in the area.
The Big Screen
Movie-lovers will appreciate that the Beach boasts two movie houses: The Beaches Cinema, and an area legend, The Fox Theatre, Toronto's oldest continuous-running movie house. Take in a new movie at the Beaches Cinema at Queen and Coxwell, or catch a second-run favourite, art flick, or documentary at the Fox.
Transit / Getting Around
The Beach is serviced by the TTC and access to and from downtown is provided by streetcars running frequently east and west across Queen, with access to the Danforth line via buses running north and south on Woodbine, Coxwell and Main. A GO station conveniently located at Main and Danforth provides area residents with a fast option for heading downtown Visit the Beaches Transit page for more information.
For car enthusiasts, the Beach's proximity to the Lakeshore and DVP mean quick access to core routes into and out of the city proper.